€1m fund to get rid of over 750,000 dumped vehicle tyres

Denis Naughten says illegal tyre scourge on the landscape ‘needs to be met head on’

It is estimated there are more than 750,000 tyres randomly dumped in sites around the country. Photograph: Getty Images

A €1 million fund to remove large stockpiles of waste tyres blighting the Irish countryside has been announced by Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten.

The level of illegal dumping of used tyres is a particular scourge on the landscape, especially in remoter areas, and "needs to be met head on", Mr Naughten said.

The move is in advance of a mandatory disposal regime that will be applied to tyre wholesalers and retailers from October 1st next.

The funding is being made available to local authorities to tackle the most significant dump sites in their areas. Money will be used to pay for gathering up illegally dumped tyres and having them disposed of legally – which can include being shredded for use as padding or being incinerated in a specialised manner.


It is estimated that there are more than 750,000 tyres randomly dumped in sites around the country – but this is probably a conservative estimate, according to Mr Naughten.

“I am targeting this funding at tyres to clean up our countryside now and to ensure that the detrimental environmental and human health effects of these dumps are dealt with as soon as possible.”

He said he was also supporting a long-awaited introduction of a new compliance scheme to ensure that as many old tyres as possible are taken out of the system. “This will reassure consumers that their old tyres will be disposed of responsibly by the retailer when they buy new tyres.”

Full compliance

A large part of the reason for this waste problem was a lack of information in relation to the tyres market in Ireland, the Minister said. “Therefore, I will be announcing regulations within two weeks that will introduce a full compliance scheme for tyres.”

This scheme, to be run by the waste recycling company Repak End of Life Tyres (ELT), is based on the "extended producer responsibility principle", and will carry out all regulatory functions on behalf of its tyre producers and retail members from October.

“Membership of the scheme will be mandatory for any operator placing tyres on the Irish market. All operators will be obliged to provide data on the numbers of tyres coming on and off the market. This will be the first time that there will be clarity in this regard,” said Mr Naughten.

At present purchasers of tyres pay an up-front charge of €2.80 per car tyre to ensure it is properly disposed of. In reality, the charge can vary between €1 and €5 but there is no traceability to verify if tyres have been properly disposed of or recycled.

Watered down

Legislation in 2007 was due to facilitate the introduction of a producer responsibility initiative (PRI) scheme but it was watered down to a partial scheme. It was opposed by some sections within the industry, and there was little enforcement.

In 2015, Repak ELT was given responsibility for administering a phased introduction a compliance scheme, which at that point was objected to on cost grounds.

Repak ELT welcomed the introduction of a stricter tyre-compliance scheme which will allow for the environmental management of waste tyres .

“We have a major issue with unaccounted for tyres [approximately 750,000] which end up in stockpiles causing significant environmental problems. This new initiative is designed to stop illegal dumping of tyres and will allow for the transparent regulation and environmental management of waste tyres,” a spokesman said.

Representatives of the tyre industry, including the Independent Tyre Wholesalers and Retailers Association, were not available for comment.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times